A sky of sepia brown and ochre with rising cumulus clouds presses down on a sparse landscape of rivers leaking between charcoal trees in this seven feet long painting on wood. Louis-Seize uses tar, acid, acrylic paint to create a moody landscape that finishes in thick resin on wood. The title of the work "Beyond Arras" refers to a region in the north of France with proximity to Belgium and the Strait of Dover that was the site of significant battles during WWI and WW II.
“My recent body of work explores three landscape themes; lush blues, stormy skies and the dark series. In these pieces, I am observing different relationships and facets of landscapes. In particular, their uniqueness at different times and periods which I feel are naturally enhanced by the condition and moment in which we view them. I am always looking to capture memories which are ephemeral but poignant.” Sylvain Louis-Seize
Excerpt from Louis-Seize by Betty Ann Jordon
"There’s a tension in Sylvain Louis-Seize’s paintings between the sky-bound, splendour of nature and the pensive contemplation implied in his generally somber palette and darkened foregrounds. There’s a sense that we humans see things through “a glass darkly,” a ‘glass’ whose surface is clouded by heedless pollution of the environment. Consider one of his elegiac landscapes bathed in antique, diffused light: In the bile-coloured sky there’s a hint of impending precipitation. It’s the magic hour before dusk in this evocation of elysian solitude. Veiled hillocks and gullies exhale dew. Trees shift with vitality. Free of human presence, a shadowy field is spangled by an uncannily brilliant ribbon of water.
Louis-Seize’s work has the initial look of a Romantic-style oil painting browned with age and candle smoke, but it also bears the drips, scrapings and scarifications that signal an ambivalence about beauty that is a defining characteristic of artists of his generation. “There’s a struggle between darkness and light when I paint,” Sylvain Louis-Seize explains. Segueing from the metaphysical to the physiological, he then alludes to art guru Hans Hoffman’s dictum about visual tension in abstraction, “It’s a push-pull thing.” A physical person, he brings the analogy down to his own life experience, likening the process of painting to Latin dance: “My materials are my partners,” he observes, swaying to an imagined beat, “and sometimes they lead.”
Self-taught artist Sylvain Louis-Seize, originally from Montréal, lives and works in Calgary, Alberta. He has completed large scale commissioned work in Toronto and New York. His work is held in private and corporate collections in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Europe.